Collapsed barn spurs fair to build new
Two shall become one.
That’s what members of the Steele County Fair Board decided during a special meeting April 18. The board voted to replace two older barns with a new building. The issue was brought to the forefront due to one of the barns collapsing after a winter of record snowfall.
On March 13, the roof of Cattle Barn 2 collapsed. The building is located next to Cattle Barn 1 and near the Show Arena and Radel Pavilion and is used by 4-H to show dairy cattle. The collapse meant that the board had to decide whether to repair the building, replace it, or replace both old barns with a single, larger building.
Both barns were built in 1958 and with the collapse of the one, the board was looking for a way to replace both in one action. “Two issues came up in our meeting two weeks ago: one was that we didn’t want to spend the money to repair the old barn and the other was that we did not want to operate out of a tent during the fair,” President Dan Deml reminded the board.
After getting bids on demolishing the old barns and replacing them, Fair Manager Scott Kozelka and Deml recommended that the board vote to accept a bid by Wick Buildings. The main reason why Kozelka and Deml decided to go with the Wick bid was that the company will also be committed to demolishing the two old barns.
The board will save money by not having to pay for a separate demolition and will also utilize some of the interior of the older barns for the new construction. “We could save money by not having to redo that whole part,” Deml said of this approach.
Understanding that construction needs to get underway on the new building as soon as it can in order to be ready by the fair, the board weighed its options and discussed the other five bids before voting on the executive committee’s recommendation.
The bid by Wick Buildings to build a single, larger barn to replace both old barns is for $255,450. This price also includes demo work. With $138,000 in estimated damages to be received through an insurance payment, the new building will cost around $118,450 out of pocket for the board.
“The way I see it this is a long-term investment for the next 50 years,” Deml said of committing to the construction of a new building. The new building will be 114-feet-by-152-feet giving the fair 17,328 square feet to house livestock or off-season storage. It will be designed with the aesthetic of the neighboring show arena in mind.
By moving storage from the Radel Pavilion to the new building, the fair could free up enough room for an additional $3,000 of rental space within the Radel building. Also, by storing its own equipment in the new building, the board will not have to commit to roughly $70,000 in order to build a sprinkler system for the new barn until further down the road.
The newer building will carry the added benefit of opening up more room between the Show Arena and the itself since it will take up less space than the two barns combined. It will also give them more flexibility due to the large interior space a single building provides verse two smaller barns.
With the fair already steadily approaching, director Doug Meier mentioned that the board should consider adding a deadline for construction to the contract. “There should be an end day set, because we need so many days to get our stuff done,” Meier said.
The board was in agreement that building one barn to replace both older buildings was the right decision and voted to move forward with the recommended bid with the stipulation that Wick Buildings put forth a deadline within writing so that this year’s fair can go off without a hitch. The fair is scheduled for the week of August 13.